WWF Prime Time Wrestling (also known to fans as simply Prime Time or PTW) was a TV wrestling program that aired on the USA Network from 1985-1993. A precursor to Monday Night Raw, Prime Time Wrestling was a two-hour long, weekly program that featured stars of the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment). The program featured wrestling matches (most of which were compiled from the WWF's syndicated programs of the era, combined with "house show" matches from venues such as Madison Square Garden), interviews, promos featuring WWF wrestlers, updates of current feuds and announcements of upcoming local and pay-per-view events. Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon on the set of Prime Time Wrestling, circa 1987. The original hosts of Prime Time Wrestling were Jesse Ventura and Jack Reynolds. Later, Gorilla Monsoon replaced Reynolds as Ventura's co-host, and Bobby Heenan would replace Ventura in 1986. Heenan and Monsoon hosted Prime Time together from 1986-1991. Roddy Piper replaced Heenan briefly in the summer of 1989, during the period Heenan "took over" the last half-hour of the Prime Time program for his own talk show; after Heenan returned to the main program, Piper was retained for the remainder of 1989 as a second co-host.
The best-remembered Prime Time format featured Heenan and Monsoon introducing taped matches and analyzing them afterward, with Monsoon taking a neutral/babyface position and Heenan unashamedly cheering on the heels. The chemistry between Monsoon and Heenan made this show popular with fans for many years, despite the fact it was not considered one of the WWF's "primary" shows for most of its history, and many other wrestling programs—both produced by the WWF and by other companies—would attempt to copy this formula, with varying degrees of success. On February 18, 1991, Prime Time changed formats to something vaguely resembling a talk/variety show, with an in-studio audience. Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan hosted this version of Prime Time, with Lord Alfred Hayes serving as an announcer. WWF wrestlers were frequent guests during this particular incarnation of Prime Time, which was similar to the WWF's old Tuesday Night Titans program. Sean Mooney replaced McMahon during the final weeks of this format, which disappeared in November of that year.
Prime Time's final format (November 1991 - Janurary 1993) featured Vince McMahon and a panel of WWF personalities (including, at various points, Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Randy Savage, Mr. Perfect, and Jerry "The King" Lawler) participating in a roundtable discussion about the goings-on in the WWF at the time. Despite the format changes in its last years, the main focus of Prime Time Wrestling remained unchanged—recapping the highlights of the WWF's flagship syndicated programs and presenting occassional exclusive matches taped from the house show circuit.
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